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CEDUNA MEN TRAP BRUMBIES
Hectic Nights On Big WA Station EPIC OF IHE BUSH
From Our Travelling Staff Representative
CEDUNA. July 11.
Mr Ted Watson, of this district, and his threesons trapped wild horses and bulls at an artesian bore in unfenced country on the six miilion-acre Madura station, which extends from near the Bight coastline to near Coongana siding on the East-
West line in Western Australia. Today they told me a thrilling story of their experiences on the track, of brumbies who had never seen white men, defiant stallions, savage bull fights in the moonlight, and of the temper of these nomadic animals. Several hundred wild horses are said to rove on Madura station, and to effect a clean-up the owners erected trap and stockyards at a bore, more than 2,000 feet deep, -which has been flowing continuously for 28 years. This, in- cidentally, is a favorite stopping place for overlanders. who pull up and bathe in its warm waters. Last year Ted Watson and his son Leslie rode over from here and trapped 180 brumbies, which come into the bore from the spacious outback only when the rock holes are dry. The men lost scores of these wild horses through the gate having been left open. They brought back the remainder and sold them on the wav down as far as Cummins. This year Mr. Watson and his sons revisited Madura and caught 120. Scenes At Trap Yards
When they started on their job, the men lay on the ground at night beside a raised 12-foot gate, waiting for the horses to come in, but that was no good. Approaching brumbies warily sniff the ground. They never look upwards, but would remain outside a trap for a fortnight rattier than enter if they sensed a stranger. The trappers got better results by sitting on the top of the yard fence. The mortality was heavy, caused by the horses coming off fresh country on to bore water, and the Watsons lost 35 good hacks in that way. Seven hacks also were crippled on the morning the men opened the trap gate, trying to hold the horses together. It is surprising how these nnimals react. . Some trembled with fear at their first sight of white men and collapsed. 'One morning.' Les Watson -said, 'a stallion came out and defied us to touch the mares. He chased me, but I gave him the mares until I went and got my other two brotiiers and stock whips.'
Although the men were several times in danger of losing the mob through stampeding during their first week on the track, the animals soon quieted down. The horses eeemed to become attached to the camp fire, and were in sight ever morning when the men rose. 'But you must not camp on one spot any longer than two days, or else they are off,' Ted 'Watson declared. 'On the way over we had to dip water out of Government tanks and pour it on the ground. The troughs had been taken away. These hardy hacks be came so docile that we used some for mustering and -droving wftoin fonr days after handling.' Xes. Watson supported n5s father by saying that they offered a wager at the stations that they would take any one horse out of a mob and teach it to follow them round tbe trap yard within 20 minutes. They never had a failure. He and nis two brothers mounted 50 different hacks, and were not thrown. 'My brother Frank was worth a dozen men to me,' be added. 'He camped out alone several nights with his horse hobbles and a little bit of feed in his saddle, tracking brumbies that had broken away, and he brought them back.' Bullfights And Other Sights
These eons of the bush told me how they bad sat In tbe moonlight and watched big cattle mobs coming in to water. Bulls, mad with xage, pawed deep holes hi the ground as they threw out their challenges to fight. 'I gelded, about 150 horses, the first lot that had been done on the station for eieht years, and 75 bulls that had never been yarded before,' Ted Watson told me. On the track between Nullarborand Eucla the party lived on rabbit, drip ping, and damper for a month. They tried wombat, beautiful meat when dressed, but it repelled them because its infantile appearance gave them the impression of cannibalism. On the way to Madura they had good sport. Their two greyhounds caught every kangaroo, dingo or fox they sighted. Er route, the party met a man on the track, who refused s ride, sod even food. He walked 100 miles after that, and died on the road between Nullar bor Station and Eucla. 'That bore at Madura is a real sanatsrium,' Ted Wabson said. 'When I went there first I was crippled in a knee with rheumatism. I bathed in the water every night and morning, and within a week I was cured.' He spoke of caves on the Nullarbor Plain out of one of which came a strong current of air. which could be beard a hundred yards away. He 6tood near the vent on a hot day and shivered. Another cave, 20 miles away, sucks
the air in. 'In my opinion,' Ted Watson said, 'the unoccupied country from the other side -?f Nullarbor Station is a* good for farming es it is here. It grows a good crop of speargrass every year unless it is eaten by rabbits, and where this thrives wheat will. I would not be afraid to start on 10,000 acres of land there if I could get it on trial.' Practical Fanner A son of a horse-keeper in Eng land, Mr. Watson has shown, raced, and dealt in horses. The last race horse he owned before he sold it was The Negro, which he learn 6ub^ eequently won the Tibooburra Handi cap in 'New South Wales. We has been on the West Coast since he landed at Fowler's Bay in 1893. Twenty-five years ago he and his brother Ernest took up 1,600 acres near Murat Bay. During the fire', year they put in a crop. They carted water eight miles from toe sea, anc condensed it for their horse teams. 'I slept alongside the condenser ir the open at night, in order to feed the furnace,' he said. 'We were con densing water at the rate of 12 gal lons an hour.' Ted Watson has had to get moisture from mallee roots more than once to allay his thirst, but he is in prime condition today.